Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for June 5th, 2008

Olive-cheese bread topping

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Take a look at this deliciousness. (But she forgot to mix in crushed red pepper flakes, for goodness sake. Or at least some chopped fresh jalapeño.)

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2008 at 6:47 pm

Useful list of sources of chia seed

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Take a look at the list and see if you know of other sources that should be added. List includes many vendors, including Aviva, who sell both generic chia and Salba, the patented variety that really put chia on the map after a nutritional study established its value. Good information at both links.

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2008 at 5:56 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health

Invincible ignorance on vaccines

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Good article by Arthur Allen on the invincible ignorance shown by the anti-vaccine enthusiasts. Well worth reading to see how resolutely evidence is ignored and the degree of ignorance of those fighting vaccines.

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5 June 2008 at 5:49 pm

Climate bill a target for industry

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Laura McGann notes in the Washington Independent what an uphill fight the Climate Bill has. The destruction of the Earth’s relatively benign climate is of no importance compared to profits.

The Wall Street Journal reports that  “virtually every special interest in the economy” is working to minimize the cost of the climate change bill under debate right now in the Senate. The bill, which is not likely to pass this year anyway, would require companies to pay for the right to emit green house gases, with the goal of cutting emissions by 65% by 2050. No real surprise here.  There’s never been a cap on how much carbon dioxide the United States can emit in burning such fossil fuels as oil, natural gas and coal. The bill essentially amounts to a new corporate tax, which as the WSJ points out, is never attractive to industry.

The debate isn’t necessarily partisan, as Suemedha mentioned yesterday. It’s very much a regional fight. For example, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) wants to protect the manufacturing sector in her state by introducing an amendment allowing companies to purchase foreign credits to avoid having to offset their own emissions. That controversial idea has already taken heat from Tennessee Republican Bob Corker and Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders who say they will enter a rival plan blocking the use of foreign credits.

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2008 at 5:44 pm

Karl Rove sweating bullets

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Very pleasant post on how Karl is finding himself in a tight spot, what with his own garrulousness on TV, Scott McClellan’s revelations, and now Patrick Fitzgerald’s willingness to talk to Congress—and more. Read it now.

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5 June 2008 at 5:40 pm

Extremely interesting post on Joan Walsh

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Joan Walsh is editor-in-chief of Salon and a great supporter of Hillary Clinton—to the degree that sometimes Walsh seems unaware of what she’s writing about Clinton and Obama. Via Balloon Juice, read this interesting analysis. The comments on that post are also interesting.

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2008 at 5:08 pm

Posted in Democrats, Election

Help TPM

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Post by Josh Marshall on TalkingPointsMemo:

It’s hard when politicians stonewall reporters. So I need to ask for your help.

But first a little background.

Former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R) is running for senate in Colorado. Schaffer left the House in 2003 and tried to run for Senate in 2004 but lost in the Republican primary. But soon after he left the House he joined the board of directors of an outfit called the National Alternative Fuels Foundation, an outfit run by a guy named Bill Orr and put together with the help of a Colorado political operative named Scott Shires, who’s also been Schaffer’s political handler in Colorado.

Nothing too out of the ordinary there except that it turned out that the NAFF was actually a scam funded with a $3.6 million congressional earmark. Last week, a federal court in Colorado convicted Orr of 22 counts all tied to basically using bogus science to bilk the US government out of $2 million bucks disbursed under that earmark. Shires had already pled guilty to charges tied to his role in the operation — he was treasurer — and is awaiting sentencing next month.

Now, it’s bad enough that Schaffer was serving on the board of the NAFF while it was in the process of scamming the federal government. But the fat earmark that funded the whole scheme suggests another question. Was it Schaffer that got the earmark that funded Orr’s phony-baloney operation?

It’s possible for an earmark like that to get funded without any member of Congress championing them. But it doesn’t happen often. In most cases, someone has to push for it. Given Schaffer’s close connection to Shires and the fact that he joined the board of directors right after leaving Congress, he’s a logical suspect. But there’s no direct proof.

So TPMmuckraker reporter Andrew Tilghman put together the list of every member of the Colorado congressional delegation circa 2000 and just started putting in calls. It took a little work. When Tilghman finally tracked down retired Rep. Joel Hefley at his home in Oklahoma, he had to leave a message for a callback with Hefley’s wife because Hefley was out in the barn. But of the eight members of the delegation, we managed to put the question to seven of them. And while they each phrased it a bit differently, each said they were either sure they had nothing to do with it or had no recollection of having anything to do with it (it was eight years ago). Except one. Bob Schaffer. The guy will not take our calls. He’s not willing to deny a role with the earmark.

So what do we do? The Colorado press won’t touch it. But we really want to know if Schaffer was more deeply involved in this than he’s letting on. We have no proof he was responsible for the earmark, just circumstantial evidence that suggests his involvement. It’s also possible that someone outside of the Colorado delegation made this happen. But I don’t think that’s likely. And I’m pretty sure someone out there knows what happened. So if you do, we want to hear from you. And if you’re not that person, if you can just get Schaffer to answer the question, that would do nice too. We’re just looking for the mystery earmarker.

By calling on the public to help, BTW, is how Marshall and his colleagues were able to break open the US Attorney firing scandal. It had been pretty well covered up, but once Marshall went to his readers for help, it broke wide open and cost Alberto Gonzales his job (and, so far as I know, he hasn’t been able to find a new one—anyone want to hire a boot-licking sycophant?).

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2008 at 2:15 pm

Posted in GOP, Government

The watchdogs we have

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Also from today’s Froomkin column:

John Young writes in a Cox News Service opinion column about Scott McClellan’s first broadcast to discuss his new book on NBC’s Today Show with Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer.

“[A]nyone who tuned in seeking to get a better understanding about the mind-set of the policy makers who plunged a nation into that war instead got a further glimpse into how we could be so distracted.

“For 45 minutes, Matt and Meredith probed not the thought processes and decisions of George Bush, or Dick Cheney, or Condoleezza Rice. No, Meredith and Matt probed the thought processes of — Scott McClellan.

“Why now, Scott? What do you think the president thinks of you? Will you two guys go fishing now? Why didn’t you speak up then to the president?

“Watching this, one could easily see how America would be led into a pre-emptive war based on lies. We have watchdogs like Meredith and Matt.”

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2008 at 2:02 pm

Posted in Media

Nice anecdote

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From Froomkin’s column today:

In the wake of Bush’s congratulatory nod to Barack Obama on clinching the Democratic presidential nomination, here’s an interesting anecdote from a 2004 William Finnegan article in the New Yorker.

Jan Schakowsky, a liberal Democratic congresswoman who represents Evanston and parts of north Chicago, told Finnegan about a “visit she had made to the White House with a congressional delegation. On her way out, she said, President Bush noticed her ‘OBAMA’ button. ‘He jumped back, almost literally,’ she said. ‘And I knew what he was thinking. So I reassured him it was Obama, with a “b.” And I explained who he was. The President said, “Well, I don’t know him.” So I just said, “You will.”‘”

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2008 at 2:01 pm

Posted in Daily life

Some very good posts at Balloon Juice

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Remember, John Cole was a Republican (who voted twice for Bush) until the scales finally fell from his eyes.

This first post, by John Cole and based on the NY Times piece about the differences between the Clinton campaign structure and that of the Obama campaignn, reminds me strongly of the famous essayThe Cathedral and the Bazaar“. The idea in general is that a cooperate unit using shared authority to draw on the parallel processing and massed intellect of multiple minds will defeat a top-down, centralized command structure which depends so heavily on the abilities of those few at the very top.

Tim F. has a good post on the fragility of credibility and how difficult it is to recover once broken—except, of course, that the media, always worshipful of power and position, seem to overlook such problems.

And this post, again by Cole, looks also at the differences between the two Democratic campaign structures. It begins:

Appearances of the word “I,” “I’ve,” “I’ll,” or “me” in Clinton’s speech: 90 out of 2237 words.

Appearances of the word “I,” “I’ve,” “I’ll,” or “me” in Obama’s speech (me appeared once): 25 out of 2451 words

Appearances of the word “we” in Hillary’s final speech: 17 out of 2237 words.

Appearances of the word “we” in Obama’s final speech: 36 out of 2451 words.

Finally, a compassionate look of what it must have been for Clinton to go from all-but-certain nominee to also ran, a post by Michael D.

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2008 at 1:53 pm

Posted in Democrats, Election

Fascinating: the doctor’s role in the placebo effect

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A post a Mind Hacks about an experiment designed to tease out the effects of the doctor’s expectations on the placebo effect. Well worth reading.

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2008 at 12:51 pm

Posted in Daily life, Medical, Science

The Milky Way, in some detail

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Take a look—it’s awe-inspiring.

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2008 at 12:48 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science

The GOP never changes

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ThinkProgress has this post, which shows yet again why the GOP is so poor at governing: the party as a whole is interested in obstruction and corruption, not in the good of the country.

GOP strategy memo revealed: This is about ‘making political points’ and ‘finger-pointing over blame.’

At 11 p.m. last night, after Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) shut down Senate debate on the Climate Security Act by forcing the 492-page bill to be read in full, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) revealed the existence of a GOP strategy memo on the climate debate. The anonymous memo, provided to Reid “by a lobbyist involved in Republican strategy meetings,” explains that their climate strategy is “much more on making political points” than “affecting policy.” See the memo at the Wonk Room.

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2008 at 12:46 pm

Molly tummy

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Lots and lots of tummy, and she wants you to rub it. And while you’re at it, squish her paws. Click photo for full magnificence.

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2008 at 12:41 pm

Posted in Cats, Molly

Phase II report from the Intelligence Committee

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David Kurtz has an important post at TalkingPointsMemo that includes links to the full text of the final two sections of the report. Included in his post (and from the reports) are these important points from a press release from Jay Rockefeller’s office. I don’t know about you, but it seems clear to me that the public was told many outright lies.

–Statements and implications by the President and Secretary of State suggesting that Iraq and al-Qa’ida had a partnership, or that Iraq had provided al-Qa’ida with weapons training, were not substantiated by the intelligence.

–Statements by the President and the Vice President indicating that Saddam Hussein was prepared to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups for attacks against the United States were contradicted by available intelligence information.

–Statements by President Bush and Vice President Cheney regarding the postwar situation in Iraq, in terms of the political, security, and economic, did not reflect the concerns and uncertainties expressed in the intelligence products.

–Statements by the President and Vice President prior to the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate regarding Iraq’s chemical weapons production capability and activities did not reflect the intelligence community’s uncertainties as to whether such production was ongoing.

–The Secretary of Defense’s statement that the Iraqi government operated underground WMD facilities that were not vulnerable to conventional airstrikes because they were underground and deeply buried was not substantiated by available intelligence information.

–The Intelligence Community did not confirm that Muhammad Atta met an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in 2001 as the Vice President repeatedly claimed.

More info here at ThinkProgress.

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2008 at 12:34 pm

Simpsons now owned by Vulfix

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Em’s Place has an important announcement:

Em’s Place has confirmed with Progress Shaving Brush (Vulfix) Ltd that the sale of Simpsons has been completed and according to Simpsons the exchange took place on May 30th.

We understand that Vulfix intends to keep the Simpsons line of brushes “as is” and all weights of hair and other specifications will remain the same. Production is expected to start next week. They will be supporting Simpsons brushes both pre and post sale.

More at the link.

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2008 at 12:26 pm

Posted in Shaving

More salads

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Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2008 at 12:17 pm

Salad: Roasted beets, feta, barley, and red onion

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This sounds like an excellent salad, and I’m making it. I’m particularly intrigued by the tip of soaking the minced red onion in water for 30 minutes to tone it down a bit.

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2008 at 11:55 am

Jell-O Art

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Very cool, via Slashfood.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Jello Art“, posted with vodpod

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2008 at 11:47 am

Posted in Art, Food

Bee problems

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Suemedha Sood has an important story in the Washington Independent: It begins:

Tom Theobald’s voice quavers with urgency when he talks about honey bees. The small-time commercial beekeeper sounds distressed, even fearful, when he makes predictions about what will happen to his bees, and indeed his business, next season. He sounds unmistakably angry.  

Like most American beekeepers, Theobald has been struggling with the mysterious bee disappearance of the last few years, now being called colony collapse disorder, or CCD. This year, he lost almost all his bees to the disorder. He’s angry. Not just because his own livelihood is in danger, but because nothing is being done to protect the pollinators responsible for over a third of our food crops.

“Basically, I think we’re on a runaway train.” he said, “and we’ve got Daffy Duck at the controls.”

Next week marks the release of a new book theorizing about the cause of CCD and arguing that its sweeping bee kills are threatening America’s food supply. Michael Schacker’s A Spring without Bees speculates that pesticides are to blame for these bee losses.

But most beekeepers and researchers say that pesticides may just be one of several causes, including multiple suspicious viruses, working together to form a lethal combination that kills off bees. Since there are so many variables at play — and some of those variables actually change based on certain conditions — the equation is complicated at best. Beekeepers say it’s not unsolvable, though –- that it requires attention from people with the resources and the power to find the answers. That attention, they say, is exactly what CCD is not getting.

CCD took a turn for the worse this year, killing off 1.1 million bee colonies across the country -– that’s 35 percent of the nation’s colonies, more than ever before. Some commercial beekeepers struggling to survive say the federal government has failed the beekeeping industry and endangered food crops. With the new farm bill about to survive a presidential veto, that could change. The bill includes a provision that would give about $75 million over five years to bee research. But it could be too late for many beekeepers who will be forced to shut down within five year’s time. And, some point out, the legislation promises billions in farm subsidy policies that could be harming the bees in the first place.

CCD puts about $15 billion of vegetable, fruit and nut crops in jeopardy. Apples, cucumbers, blueberries, strawberries, soybeans, almonds, avocados, melons and pumpkins are just a few of the crops that depend on honey bee pollination. Honey bees are also needed to pollinate seeds for a number of crops, including cabbage, broccoli and herbs.

The disorder is also taking a toll on the U.S. beekeeping industry.

For 33 years, beekeeping has defined Tom Theobald’s life. His one-man operation, Niwot Honey Farm, is a community-based producer outside Boulder, Colo., that sells to local outlets and clients around the country. He compares his specialty honey to a particular vintage of wine — there’s nothing else like it, he says.

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2008 at 11:43 am

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